In the course of the ATMOsphere Europe - a series of global events that bring together political, industrial as well as private stakeholders promoting natural refrigerants - the GCI presented a case study on the needs to develop international safety standards for hydrocarbon (HC) refrigerants in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) appliances.
Whilst the interest in the use of HCs in commercial RAC appliances is growing, market and product development is obstructed by the charge size limits given in product safety standards. Charge size is either limited by room area, unit installation height or quantity of flammable refrigerant, often making it impossible to use sufficient refrigerant to cool a given room.
Measures such as the position and orientation of the leak source, appliance and room size as well as air flow characteristics can be adapted to address the threats posed by leaked refrigerants. Various stakeholders are making extensive investigations to understand the relationship between such measures and charge size limit and flammability. Revised safety standards have been submitted and will hopefully be approved by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization (CENELEC).